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About Ken Bruen
KEN BRUEN was born in Galway, Ireland in 1951. The award-winning author of sixteen novels, he is the editor of Dublin Noir, and spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, Southeast Asia and South America. He now lives in Galway City.
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Titles By Ken Bruen
America—the land of opportunity, a place where economic prosperity beckons: but not for PI Jack Taylor, who's just been refused entry. Disappointed and bitter, he thinks that an encounter with an overly friendly stranger in an airport bar is the least of his problems. Except that this stranger seems to know much more than he should about Jack. Jack thinks no more of their meeting and resumes his old life in Galway.
But when he's called to investigate a student murder—connected to an elusive Mr. K—he remembers the man from the airport. Is the stranger really who he says he is? With the help of the Jameson, Jack struggles to make sense of it all. After several more murders and too many coincidental encounters, Jack believes he may have met his nemesis. But why has he been chosen? And could he really have taken on the devil himself?
Suspenseful, haunting, and totally unique, The Devil is Bruen at his very best.
In this short work, Edgar Award finalist Ken Bruen—“a Celtic Dashiell Hammett”—takes us deeper into his character Jack Taylor, formerly of Ireland’s police force, the Garda Síochána, now a living-on-the-edge private detective (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
“Jack, as ja series know all too well, has a gift for blarney, for plain speaking, for poetic melancholy, for downing shots of Jameson’s [sic] without ice, and for pregnant one-word paragraphs.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Bruen’s storytelling style, a stream-of-consciousness mix of prose and verse, strips away Galway’s tourist-board facade and offers a darkly comic social commentary.” —Booklist
“The Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel.” —The Irish Times
“[Taylor’s] voice is wry and bittersweet, but somehow always hopeful.” —The Seattle Times
Jack Taylor brings death and pain to everyone he loves. His only hope of redemption - his surrogate son, Cody - is lying in the hospital in a coma. At least he still has Ridge, his old friend from the Guards, though theirs is an unorthodox relationship. When she tells him that a boy has been crucified in Galway city, he agrees to help her search for the killer.
Jack's investigations take him to many of his old haunts where he encounters ghosts, both dead and living. Everyone wants something from him, but Jack is not sure he has anything left to give. Maybe he should disappear--pocket his money and get the hell out of Galway like everyone else seems to be doing. But when the sister of the murdered boy is burned to death, Jack decides he must hunt down the killer, if only to administer his own brand of justice. Ken Bruen's Cross is a suspenseful and deeply moving mystery.
An elderly priest is nearly beaten to death. A special-needs boy is brutally attacked. Evil has many guises, and private investigator Jack Taylor has encountered most of them. But nothing before has ever truly terrified him until he confronts a group calling itself Headstone, responsible for a series of random violent crimes in Galway, Ireland.
As Headstone barrels along its deadly path right to the center of Taylor’s life, he will need to call upon his own capacity for brutality in order to stop them, in this suspenseful novel from a writer called “a Celtic Dashiell Hammett” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
“A nonstop rampage of intrigue, mayhem, lunacy and dark-dark-dark humor.” —Shelf Awareness
Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Síochána—the Guards, Ireland's police force—and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. In his sober moments Jack aspires to become Ireland's best private investigator, not to mention its first—Irish history, full of betrayal and espionage, discourages any profession so closely related to informing. But in truth Jack is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future nonexistent.
Nonexistent, that is, until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack's talent for finding things. Odds are he won't be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved with his radiant new client, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he's getting into.
Stark, violent, sharp, and funny, The Guards is an exceptional novel, one that leaves you stunned and breathless, flipping back to the beginning in a mad dash to find Jack Taylor and enter his world all over again. It's an unforgettable story that's gritty, absorbing, and saturated with the rough-edged rhythms of the Galway streets. Praised by authors and critics around the globe, The Guards heralds the arrival of an essential new novelist in contemporary crime fiction.
Ken Bruen's The Guards is a 2004 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel.
After much tragedy and violence, Jack Taylor has at long last landed at contentment. Of course, he still knocks back too much Jameson and dabbles in uppers, but he has a new woman in his life, a freshly bought apartment, and little sign of trouble on the horizon—until a wealthy Frenchman comes to him with a request to investigate the double murder of his twin sons.
Jack is meanwhile roped into looking after his girlfriend’s nine-year-old, and is in for a shock with the appearance of a character out of his past. The plot is one big chess game and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one dangerously mysterious player: a vigilante called “Silence,” because he’s the last thing his victims will ever hear.
This new novel filled with suspense and pitch-dark humor comes from a Shamus Award-winning author who’s been called “hard to resist, with his aching Irish heart, silvery tongue, and bleak noir sensibility” (TheNew York Times Book Review).
“The Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel.”—Irish Independent
Ireland, awash with cash and greed, no longer turns to the Church for solace or comfort. But the decapitation of Father Joyce in a Galway confessional horrifies even the most jaded citizen.
Jack Taylor, devastated by the recent trauma of personal loss, has always believed himself to be beyond salvation. But a new job offers a fresh start, and an unexpected partnership provides hope that his one desperate vision--of family--might yet be fulfilled.
An eerie mix of exorcism, a predatory stalker, and unlikely attraction conspires to lure him into a murderous web of dark conspiracies. The specter of a child haunts every waking moment.
Explosive, unsettling and totally original, Ken Bruen's writing captures the brooding landscape of Irish society at a time of social and economic upheaval. Priest is evidence of an unmistakable literary talent.
Ex-cop-turned-PI Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway’s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him.
When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called “Miracle of Galway.” People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn’t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle—or expose the stunt.
But Jack isn’t the only one looking for these children, and he’s about to plunge into a case involving an order of nuns, an arsonist, and a girl who may be more manipulative than miraculous. From the multiple Shamus Award winner known as “the Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel” (Irish Independent), this is a hard-edged, ceaselessly suspenseful mystery in the popular long-running series.
“A Celtic Dashiell Hammett.”—Philadephia Inquirer
Jack Taylor has never quite been able get his life together, but now he has truly hit rock bottom. Still reeling from a violent family tragedy, Taylor is busy drowning his grief in Jameson and uppers, as usual, when a high-profile officer in the local Garda is murdered. After another Guard is found dead, and then another, Taylor’s old colleagues from the force implore him to take on the case. The plot is one big game, and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one dangerously mysterious team: a trio of young killers with very different styles, but who are united their common desire to take down Jack Taylor. Their ring leader is Jericho, a psychotic girl from Galway who is grieving the loss of her lover, and who will force Jack to confront some personal trauma from his past.
As sharp and sardonic as it is starkly bleak and violent, Galway Girl shows master raconteur Ken Bruen at his best: lyrical, brutal, and ceaselessly suspenseful.
Jack Taylor is recovering from a mistaken medical diagnosis and a failed suicide attempt. Now that he’s going to live after all, he’s going to need money, so using his ex-Garda credentials he manages to land a job as a night-shift security guard.
But his Ukrainian boss has Jack in mind for a bit of off-the-books work. He wants Jack to find what some claim to be the first true book of heresy, the famously blasphemous “Red Book,” currently in the possession of a rogue priest hiding out in Galway after fleeing a position at the Vatican. Despite Jack’s distaste for priests of any stripe, the money is too good to turn down. Then Em, the many-faced woman who’s had a vise on Jack’s heart and mind for the past two years, reappears and turns out to be entangled with the story of the Red Book, too—leading Jack down ever more mysterious and lethal pathways—in this “dark and often hilarious” series by an author who’s won the Shamus, Macavity, and Barry Awards and been an Edgar Award finalist (Toronto Star).
“Bruen is in top form, and, although everything Taylor touches seems to turn to ash, he embodies such humanity that readers will be unable to resist rooting for him.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The most mannered prose since the glory days of James Ellroy.” —Kirkus Reviews
Ken Bruen's London Boulevard is a masterful work of double dealing and suspense from one of the great crime writers of our time.
Now a major motion picture starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley, written and directed by Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan of The Departed.
When Mitchell is released from prison after serving three years for a vicious attack he doesn't even remember, Billy Norton is there to pick him up. But Norton works for Tommy Logan, a ruthless loan shark lowlife with plans Mitchell wants nothing to do with. Attempting to stay out of Logan's way, he finds work at the Holland Park mansion of faded movie actress, Lillian Palmer, where he has to deal with her mysterious butler, Jordan. It isn't long before Mitchell's violent past catches up with him and people start getting hurt. When his disturbed sister Briony is threatened, Mitchell is forced to act.
In The Emerald Lie, the latest terror to be visited upon the dark Galway streets arrives in a most unusual form: a Cambridge graduate who becomes murderous over split infinitives, dangling modifiers, and any other sign of bad grammar. Meanwhile, Jack is approached by a grieving father with a pocketful of cash on offer if Jack will help exact revenge on those responsible for his daughter’s brutal rape and murder. Though hesitant to get involved, Jack agrees to get a read on the likely perpetrators.
But Jack is soon derailed by the reappearance of Emily (previous alias: Emerald), the chameleon-like young woman who joined forces with Jack to take down her pedophile father in Green Hell and who remains passionate, clever, and utterly homicidal. She will use any sort of coercion to get Jack to conspire with her against the serial killer the Garda have nicknamed “the Grammarian,” but her most destructive obsession just might be Jack himself.
“Nobody writes like Ken Bruen, with his ear for lilting Irish prose and his taste for the kind of gallows humor heard only at the foot of the gallows.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review